Morrie Enders knows theatre and according to him, “Theatre is about connection; that humans have a primal need for human connection and communal experience.” In a time of an international pandemic where human interaction and connection is difficult, Morrie knew that he had to find a way to bring his people back together to enjoy great community theatre again, safely.
Morrie Enders is the Executive Director of Lincoln Community Playhouse and as a self-proclaimed “Theatre Evangelist,” he is proud to have spent a lifetime in community theatre as:
- Artistic Director of Kalamazoo Civic Theatre in Michigan
- Artistic/Managing Director of La Crosse Community Theatre in Wisconsin
- Having his productions performed in Germany, Monaco, and Japan
- Recipient of the American Association of Community Theatre (AACT) Distinguished Merit Award and was given the designation of Fellow of AACT in 2007
- Recipient of the ANPE Nonprofit Executive of the Year Award for 2015
- Mayor’s Arts Award winner
- Admiral commissioned in the Nebraska Navy
Acting Safely at the Lincoln Community Playhouse
When COVID-19 hit in March of 2020 and the Lincoln Community Playhouse was shut down, Morrie had to act, literally. He had to get people back into the theatre, so he had a brilliant idea for a parking lot performances. Morrie found that people in our community wanted to get out of the basement and go to safe events, so they could feel reconnected. They started with parking lot plays, mini-concerts, as well as solo and family performances. Audience members would use their car stereos and boomboxes so that they could listen to the performers. Because of this, people had a great time and they were grateful for the opportunity to attend live theatre.
Reimagining and Rethinking Theatre
After working with the Public Health Department, the Lincoln Community Playhouse has been cautiously and safely easing themselves back into the theatre. They have created new avenues of safety for the health and well-being of the staff, crew, volunteers, and actors at the theatre.
Some of the innovative safety precautions that have been implemented at the theatre include:
- Air scrubbers, sanitation stations
- QR Code programs
- Pod seating that allows audience members to keep a distance of six feet apart
- Requiring audience members to wear a mask while in the theatre
As for their current shows, the Lincoln Community Playhouse is keeping the crew and performers limited to a 20 person show, done in vignettes (or two-person scenes). Some safety requirements for the actors include:
- Actors rehearse separately
- They are masked in rehearsal and performances
- Actors wear a special black mask that allows the audience to still see their expressions
To learn more about how you can safely attend the Lincoln Community Playhouse shows, visit their website.
Revisiting the Lincoln Community Playhouse
Morrie noted Harvard research that hooked people to electrodes while they were watching performances and they discovered, “When people watch a play, their hearts beat together.”
Together, we can beat the economic effects of this pandemic by recovering Lincoln. It’s time to reunite at the Lincoln Community Playhouse. We need to reconnect the members in our community, safely. The Lincoln Community Playhouse has pledged to follow health directives.
You can register your business or organization, like Lincoln Community Playhouse, by pledging to be a business that is committed to safely recovering our Lincoln economy and community. Or you can access the business directory which lists businesses that have pledged to recover Lincoln together by following directive health measures.